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Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion‘s new video for their single “WAP” has drawn praise and criticism from just about everyone since its release last week. The explicit lyrics have horrified critics like conservative commentator Ben Shapiro (who received the meme treatment for his dry reading of the song’s lyrics) while artists like Halsey have celebrated the song’s empowering attitude.

Several guest stars also made an appearance in the “WAP” video — most notably, Kylie Jenner — and each contributed something from their background or expertise to make the video truly one for the history books. Spanish singer Rosalía was one of these people, but despite her receiving criticism like Kylie, Cardi B stood up for Rosalía and where she comes from.

Rosalia performs at the 2020 GRAMMY Awards
Rosalia performs at the 2020 GRAMMY Awards | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Where is Rosalía from?

Rosalía Vila Tobella grew up in Sant Esteve Sesrovires, a small town outside of Barcelona, Spain. She was a musical prodigy from a young age: she studied at some of Spain’s most prestigious music schools, and began to immerse herself in the flamenco music and culture that Spain is known for. Case in point: her critically acclaimed 2018 Grammy-winning album El mal querer was actually her final project for her bachelor’s degree in flamenco studies.

Is Rosalía Latina?

Though she speaks Spanish and hails from Spain, the “Latino/a/x/e” label refers to those countries in Latin America that Spain once colonized centuries ago. As a result, she’s received lots of criticism for appropriating Latin music and culture and using it as a springboard to launch her career in mainstream Latin music in the U.S. She’s hardly the first artist to be accused of this: Spanish singers like Enrique Iglesias have been criticized for building careers as “Latin” artists, even though the U.S. mainstream music industry’s broad categorization of Spanish-language music doesn’t allow much flexibility for these artists to define themselves on their own terms.

Rosalía honored her Spanish roots in the ‘WAP’ video

While many were confused as to why Rosalía was even in the “WAP” music video, Cardi B defended her decision and gave the Spanish songstress props for her unique wardrobe in the video. With Spain being the bullfighting capital of the world, it made perfect sense for Rosalía to pay homage to the brave matadors who risk their lives in the ring — despite bullfighting having been banned in Barcelona a decade ago.

Cardi B was thrilled to have Rosalía involved in the “WAP” video, regardless of where the singer comes from. “Fun fact: Rosalía’s hairstyle is representing bullfighter wardrobe. It represents her country’s culture,” the rapper said in an Instagram post. “I think that’s dope !!!”


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It’s not the first time she’s shouted out Spain

In the years since her neo-flamenco breakout in 2018, Rosalía has gone back to her roots and honored the country where she comes from many times. On songs like “Me Traicionaste” (written for the Game of Thrones soundtrack) and “Juro Que” (the video for which features Omar Ayuso from popular Spanish Netflix drama Élite), Rosalía incorporates the guitars, claps, and energy of flamenco dances in new and exciting ways. Her “WAP” tribute is just the latest in a long line of shoutouts to her homeland.